A new survey of 1100 employed adult Hispanic consumers conducted on behalf of management consulting firm Garcia Trujillo LLC, found that more than 66% of Latinos in America would be more inclined to buy products and services from companies and 64.7% would be even more loyal to companies that demonstrate a strong and visible commitment to the Hispanic community. And although Hispanics would like to see companies develop or adapt more products and services that are culturally relevant to them, greater community involvement and increasing the number of Hispanics in key management positions are far more important.

“Although many companies continue to make investments in building their brands and their business strategically in the Hispanic market, our survey shows a significant gap in companies’ ability to engage and build equity with the fastest growing demographic in America,” said Charles Garcia, chief executive officer of Garcia Trujillo and member of the board of directors of Winn-Dixie Stores, 1 of the largest supermarket chains in the Southeast.

The objective of the study was to explore Hispanic perception about how U.S. companies – broadly defined as large corporations and brands — treat U.S. Hispanic consumers. Given the growth of the Hispanic population in the United States, which is currently estimated at 50 million people, and the concomitant growth in a Hispanic consumer market, this study explores whether perceptions about the way in which large U.S. companies and brands treat Hispanics affects their ability to attract them as consumers.

Findings include:

  • Although 59.3% of the consumers surveyed believe that the Hispanic market is important to companies and brands in the U.S., nearly 42% believe U.S. companies have little respect for them as consumers
  • 94% of those surveyed want companies, products or brands in this country to have Spanish-speaking spokespeople in their advertising and information campaigns
  • 15.5% would like to see products and services specifically created for the Latino consumer
  • More than 60% believe that Hispanic workers face serious obstacles to advancement, with only 42% claiming U.S. companies provide very few opportunities for growth – nearly 60% believe language and 21.7% a college degree are the biggest obstacles to moving up.
  • 60% believe companies are committed to their Hispanic employees; however, when asked how many Hispanics (in your best estimate) are currently in management or in leadership roles in companies in the United States, most Hispanics thought less than 10%.

“This data demonstrates the strategic opportunities for companies and brands to connect with Latinos in meaningful ways,” said Sol Trujillo, chairman of Garcia Trujillo and a member of the board of Target and WPP Group, the global marketing conglomerate.

This study reveals that a majority of Hispanics have a very negative perception about their own personal chances of growing professionally, with 42% claiming that U.S. companies provide very few opportunities for growth. According to the analysis done by Newlink Research, the absence of English-language skills and low educational attainment are the most serious obstacles to Hispanic advancement.

“Considering that Hispanics make up about 16% of the population of the United States and that over the next 4 decades they will represent the largest growing market segment, U.S. companies should begin to take into account this enormous gap and begin to structure responses that prepare them for the future,” said Eduardo Gamarra, PhD, Newlink Research managing partner and professor at Florida International University. “Hispanic human capital already represents an enormous underutilized resource.”

[Source:  Survey conducted by Garcia Trujillo LLC/Newlink Research. 16 Feb. 2011. Web. 26 Feb. 2011.]